So what do this week’s bar mitzvah boy and I have in common? He’s young and handsome and looking forward to being called to the Torah. And I’m… Well you can look at the photo and judge for yourself. But both of us have strong relationship with Abraham. As we begin the Amidah tomorrow, we’ll call upon Abraham and Sarah and their children and grandchildren – the Avot v’ Imahot (Patriarchs and Matriarchs). We don’t mention Adam and Eve or Noah. Our connection to a Jewish faith starts with Abraham. And in this week’s parasha, Lech L’Cha, he bursts upon the scene with a call and promise from God. Showing the personality trait by which he is known, Avram (as he is known in this parasha) obeys God’s command and goes forth. Commentators have long struggled with the enigmatic and grammatically unusual phrase which gives this week’s reading it’s name. Is he going to himself, for himself, with himself? All of these have their proponents and each finds a different meaning in Avram’s action of taking himself away from his land, his birthplace, his family. As his feet take him closer to the land that God will show him, is he also taking an inward journey? Is he comfortable with this change? He’s certainly a risk taker and willing to embark on a new and presumably better phase of his life when he answers the call that he hears. Our Jewish journey also begins here as we see that our God is not tied to place or time, that our God is with us wherever we are and throughout history.
I wish our bar mitzvah Mazel Tov as he continues his Jewish journey now as an adult member of our community recalling that this is the anniversary of my own bar mitzvah. Turns out that we do have something in common!